Sage Northcutt suffered the first defeat of his career this past weekend, and one of the changes that will stem from that is switching his training environment.
The 19-year-old prospect had Firas Zahabi in his corner, but he didn't really have much training done with them during this last camp. That's not going to be the case next time, as Northcutt plans to head back and train at the gym that houses the likes of Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald.
"I know I have a lot to learn. I'm excited to go to Canada and go train in Tristar, and learn as much as I possibly can," Northcutt said during the MMA Hour. "I'll definitely be learning a lot and be the best you've ever seen for the next fight."
"Yes sir. I will be up there full-time, it looks like," he said. "I do have schoolwork still, because I'm still at Texas A&M, so I'm trying to figure out how exactly that's going to work. If I need to come back to do certain tests and quizzes, or how that's going to work out. So I'm still playing out that schedule, but yes sir, I'll be training at Tristar."
When asked when he wanted to return, Northcutt said his priority is to train and improve as much as he can first.
"I would like to go to Tristar coming up soon, probably within the next month. Then be able to figure out what to do with school at the same time. So (the plan is to) train in Tristar long enough, and get my technique, and the things I need to correct -- make myself better in every way that's necessary."
The 19-year-old revealed that moving to Montreal will be a huge change from his current situation, as he doesn't spar or even have much suitable training partners.
"Normally I do not spar leading up to fights," Northcutt said. "It's just kind of protecting yourself from injuries, and for the moment being, I haven't been at a gym where there is sparring or any MMA fighters at the gym."
"The gym I'm specifically at is a Gracie Barra gym, so in the future obviously I will. I can spar and train my technique in different ways, going up to Tristar, getting different training partners, different UFC fighters who are in there very well talented, and getting to learn the most I can out of everything."
Northcutt stated that he had strep throat and felt like he was "breathing out of a straw" for the past week, leading him to be taken to the emergency clinic two days before the fight. He says hopefully with better health (possibly having his tonsils removed too), coupled with better training, he will have a much better showing on his return.
"Hopefully for the next fights to come, I won't be sick, and I'll be training smart and learning as much as I possibly can."
"I'm honored and blessed to be in the UFC, much less be 19 years old in the UFC, knowing that I have so much time to learn, so much technique to learn, everything all around to make myself better."
Northcutt already has 2 wins in 3 bouts in the UFC, and he obviously still has time on his side. It will be truly interesting to see how far he can go if he allows a top coach like Firas Zahabi to properly mold him and take advantage of his skills and physical gifts.